Former raiders now wage war with Bible

Some of the reformed warriors who have turned into priesthood after abandoning cattle rustling. [Standard]
It was once a battlefield where warriors from two rival communities fought bloody battles over livestock.

For more than 50 years, Takaiwa village was a no-go zone, as members of the Turkana and Pokot communities engaged in cross-border cattle raids that saw dozens of lives lost and hundreds of animals stolen.

That was then.

Today, a church stands on the former battleground and the guns have gone silent. They have been replaced by another weapon – the Bible. This has become the new sword with which 15 reformed raiders are using to fight for the souls of their fellow tribesmen and hopefully save them from eternal damnation.

SEE ALSO : ‘We have reformed but our scars will never heal’

Forgive me

The converts, who claim to have masterminded numerous cattle raids as well as engaged in sorcery, have become men of the cloth and are now working towards reconciling the communities.

They contributed iron sheets and built the Reformed Church of East Africa, Kases, which accommodates about 50 people.

Among them is Lominwa Losike, who told of how he had conducted raids where several people were killed.

“I am pleading with the community to forgive me. I have done terrible things. I used to command my fellow raiders to attack a village and they would do so.”

SEE ALSO :Police hunt rustler who was shot

He said despite conducting the raids, he did not become wealthy.

Wilson Merikamar, a pastor and former warrior, said it was difficult for him to abandon the culture until he became a Christian. That was when he learned that raiding neighbouring communities would only bring him curses.

Protect warriors

“I now have peace since I started preaching the word of God. Youths who are engaging in raids don’t know the word of God. The Government should help us set up more churches so more people can be saved,” he said.

One of the women, Lochokit Mary, claimed she used to travel to Baringo to fetch paraphernalia to protect warriors going on raids.

SEE ALSO :Fear as herders invade farms and attack owners

“I would perform a ritual so that my own children would not be attacked. The ritual would protect them and they returned safely without being killed,” she said.

Relative calm

Musa Katulia, 35, said while it was hard for any bandit to confess the evil activities they had engaged in, they had changed and embraced the role of building the society positively as peace ambassadors.

Speaking to The Standard at Takaiwa, Songok senior assistant Chief Joseph Korkimul said the area had experienced relative calm since the warriors quit raiding.

“The peace we are currently enjoying would not have been realised if the youth were not converted to Christianity,” he said.

Takaiwa villagecattle rustlingreformed warriorsturkana communitypokot community